[mythtv-users] PVR-350 vs PVR-250 + GeForce4MX
knight at pogmech.net
knight at pogmech.net
Wed May 19 22:16:07 EDT 2004
I'm relatively new to the MythTV world, just recently built one from scratch using Fedora Core 2 (test3), and kernel 2.6.6. So i'm not a seasoned vet like most here, but here's my 2c.
When I searched for the suggested hardware, I saw a lot of people using/suggesting the Nvidia cards with tv-out, and a Hauppauge PVR-250. So I went out and got a nice compact box (FIC Condor- 2 pci, 1 agp), and threw in the PVR-250, and GeForce 4 MX 440 128mb (AGP). The Condor box is overkill, but this is just my test bed anyway.
I started out using Fedora Core 2 Test 2, and found barely a whisper of anyone running on this version (understandably). I ran into a lot of issues, and started reading thousdands of threads, forums, and googling till my fingers bled. At this point Core 2 Test 3 came out.
The inner masochist in me demanded to use Test 3, and compile everything from scratch. After bangin' the head against solid objects for awhile, I got MythTV working with just a couple issues to resolve still, but this might be due to the CVS version.
-If you plan to use Fedora core 2, note that the Nvidia drivers(v4363 suggested version to use) no longer support the new 4k stack in Kernel 2.6.5+ There are patches out for it and you'll need to d/l the 2.6.6 kernel and turn off the 4k stack option to get it to work. This option goes away in future kernels, so we'll be stuck with the 4k stack turned on.
That was basically my biggest pain in the arse- getting the nvidia drivers compiled in. Everything else from that point went smoothly.
I compared it when running the PVR under windows xp with the latest drivers installed. The Windows screen looks just a tad sharper, but then I haven't tweaked the MythTV settings much either. The screens were viewed on a Monitor with the desktop resolutions set to 1024 x768. If i hooked it up to a TV, I probably wouldn't see any difference at all.
Almost all the apps I compiled are CVS versions. They seem stable so far, except for a couple issues with MythTV. If you stick with the release version, it should be pretty solid. I liked some of the new features in the CVS version so went with that.
Ease of setup:
Since I did everything from scratch (no RPM's here!), it was a bit of a task, but once the nvidia drivers were loaded and I clued in that I was supposed to use IvTV drivers for the PVR-250 (not listed in the mythtv.org docs in required software), it was a smooth install.
I made up some detailed docs on building it all from scratch. I plan to clean it up a bit and post it if anyone is interested. Might save a few people from getting migraines. I still need to test it on a TV instead of a monitor.
The GeForce 4mx 440 has an S-Video out. Most of my TV's are just standard RCA. I went to Radio Shack and bought a converter(S-Vid to RCA) that plugs into the Svideo out of the Card, and the RCA video plugs into that. I need to test it and make sure it works. I think it was about $10 bucks.
I use Gnome, but gnome has a prob with MythTV- MythTV runs as a window, instead of a borderless full screen app. No biggie- at the GUI login screen, click "Session", select KDE, and login normally. MythTV runs perfectly.
I grabbed the AGP one because I needed the 2 pci slots - PVR card and Wireless(g) Card (I had to spend 19 bucks to buy a linux driver for it, but well worth it). Also i'm running a dual box (win xp/fedora)- and needed good 3d performance. The windows boot is basically a gaming platform. =D
Sorry to be long winded, but that's my experience in a nutshell.
On Wed, May 19, 2004 at 04:34:56PM -0400, Micah wrote:
> I'm rolling around the idea of putting together a dedicated Myth box, and I'm
> trying to nail down my choice of hardware.
> My current problem is deciding between a PVR-350 or a PVR-250 + GeForce4MX
> with TV-out.
> My issues and priorities are in this order:
> 1. Stability <-- Highest priority
> 2. Ease of setup
> 3. Image quality
> I was leaning heavily toward the PVR-350 because it simply seems better suited
> to a dedicated Myth box. However, after reading Jarod's guide, it seems that
> stability and ease of setup are issues with the PVR-350.
> Cost wise, a quick check on newegg showed that the price difference was about
> $10 (with the PVR-350 being cheaper). That is close enough to be negigible in
> my book.
> Some other related notes:
> * I will be using composite TV-out. I don't have S-video on my TV. Future
> TVs will probably have S-video or better.
> * I want to be able to use the console emulators. I don't know if they can
> leverage the 3D capabilities of a video card (like the GeForce). Can they?
> * My Linux knowledge is spotty at best. I have compiled kernels and such, but
> not much more. I still don't understand things like KDE vs Gnome, X-Windows,
> etc. I am an experienced Linux user, not admin.
> * The addition of the GeForce would take up the AGP slot, so I'm not losing
> any PCI slots by putting it in.
> So, any advice would be quite helpful.
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